KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Malay voters in Penang say the state is being run by the Chinese despite backing Lim Guan Eng over other leaders.
A survey of 720 Malay voters by researchers Ilham Centre found that when the island was under a Gerakan-led administration until 2008, Malays saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as being led by Umno.
“Lim Guan Eng (picture) is popular and respected for being humble, approachable and being on the ground. But because of the sentiment and prejudice from Umno, he is seen as a Chinese who is threatening Malays,” said the study on perceptions of Malay voters towards Penang and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government.
It said this showed the media has indoctrinated Malays to see the current administration as “a Chinese or DAP government.”
“It is seen as a DAP, not a Pakatan Rakyat government,” the study concluded, despite nearly 30 per cent of respondents picking current Chief Minister Lim as the most popular and respected leader in the state.
The Malaysian Insider reported last month that a survey commissioned by the DAP showed that less than a third of Malays now back the party, down from nearly 50 per cent just a few months after Lim took office in 2008.
The DAP made a clean sweep of all seats it contested in the island and obliterated Gerakan in the process.
But Umno has eroded Malay support for PR with repeated claims that the coalition is anti-Malay.
Its newspaper Utusan Malaysia also claimed earlier this year that the DAP had conspired with the church to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.
The DAP has tried to reach out to Malays by recruiting Malay leaders such as Transparency International Malaysia founder Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim and Zairil Khir Johari.
Tunku Abdul Aziz is now a vice-chairman while Zairil, son of former Education Minister Tan Sri Khir Johari, is Lim’s political secretary.
The DAP secretary-general is followed by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mansor Othman, state Opposition Leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim and Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Osman in popularity.
The study was conducted from October 7 to 9 and polled voters in the Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor federal constituencies and the Bayan Lepas state seat, all currently held by Umno.
Of the total, 43 per cent said they were Umno supporters while the rest were fencesitters.
The study also found that PAS was not seen as a champion for Malay-Muslims as its state leaders were not as popular as Umno’s.
“PAS under (state chief) Salleh Man is too weak and has failed to make PAS popular and respected whether in terms of welfare, community and sermons. PAS is seen as DAP’s puppets,” Ilham said.
The researchers also said two of the party’s top leaders who hail from Penang, deputy president Mohamad Sabu and central committee member Mujahid Yusof, are seen to be removed from Penang politics and not interested in helping Penang Malays.
It also said respondents did not see PKR as capable of helping the Malays as it is a multiracial party.
“(PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is not seen as influential over the majority of Malay voters in Penang, just certain areas such as Permatang Pauh,” the study said.”